Review Roundup - Dying Inside

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (2013)

Die Hard still stands as a solid example of raising the material of an 80s action flick to something a little higher, showing a little more humanity and character than is usually brought to the screen in those days. It's also one of those films that probably should never have had any sequels. The second is probably more entertaining than I should admit but is not a great movie by anyone's standards, and the third is pretty solid despite still having weak plot devices and too many messy third act moments. The last entry was pretty basic modern day thriller stuff... it hit enough of the right notes to keep me interested at the time but isn't really much of anything on rewatching now. It's made well enough to be inoffensive overall, but it's very forgettable. So... if the last one represents the impotent, slightly hard of hearing stage in the series life cycle then this has got to be the incontinent, mentally questionable part. 


It blunders its way through poorly done teal and orange action set pieces to ridiculous Chernobyl conspiracy nonsense in just over 90 minutes; and almost every aspect feels lacking. The opening car chase is so overblown with distracting levels of collateral damage (vehicle collisions look mis-timed and practical stunts are cartoonish). But at the same time this is the high point, as later shoot outs with one dimensional goons in the place of proper villains just feel noisy and flat. 

It gets worse as CG helicopters and slow motion glass breaking sequences are added in place of real style or excitement by a film maker without any apparent skill whatsoever. It's poor on basically every level, right down to the basics. Even the standard Die Hard double crossing bait and switch moment feels so inconsequential when the players are so thinly drawn and the motivations of every character seem to be missing key elements. Nothing has any weight as nearly ever actor looks uninterested and bored, much like myself. There are a couple of Father - Son exchanges shoe horned in but they fail to have any impact when everything going on is so incoherent and frustrating. Don't even get me started on how stupid the finale is when disused nuclear reactors get wheeled out in some misguided attempt to bring gravity to the storyline.

Bruce Willis here looks and sounds tired, and despite admitting as much when talking about his film choices recently, he keeps appearing in brainless movies like this and the Expendables series. I'm guessing it has to be a quick buck to keep things ticking over but I'd prefer to see more of him in the likes of Looper and Moonrise Kingdom where there was some depth and personality to be mined. There's definitely some energy left there but it's not to be found in this franchise. They'd better call the next one Die Hardest, or preferably just not come back at all.

1/5